Race Report: Gridiron 4-Miler
Is winter over yet? Because yesterday was colllllllllld. I’m almost ready to quit running until it gets to be above freezing. Almost…
Yesterday was the Gridiron 4-miler. A nice little race that I didn’t run last year (silly stress fracture), but did in 2008. And I had some lofty goals. My running has been incredibly minimal in the past one and a half months, but I was still hoping for a big day. I wanted this race to be the one that pushed me into the next pace group, so I needed to run it in 30 minutes or under; a 7:30 pace. My previous PR for 4 miles was 30:45 at The Race to Deliver this past November. I needed to cut my time by 45 seconds. Still injured, and so cold…could I do it? Let’s see…
I met the Whippets bright at early for a quick warm up; there was a lot of PR talk in the air so I was in good company. I’m glad we finished our warm up nice and early so I could hop into my corral right away. Part of my plan to get that 7:30mm was to get into my corral ASAP so I could have less people to weave through that would slow me down as my first mile always seemed to be my slowest because of the crowds. I was right up against that tape that kept me out of the red bibs, just where I wanted to be and had a plan. The route was almost the same as Race to Deliver and I knew exactly where I needed to push myself. Mile 1: get out of there fast and try for a 7:30 or slightly slower. Mile 2: going to be my fastest…take advantage and try for under 7:20. Mile 3: going to be my slowest…just push myself and know it’s going to be over 7:30. Mile 4: just go fast and know I can rest when it’s over. I was going to get that 30 minutes.
The gun when off and I was off. And when I saw off…I mean off. I worked hard to get myself out of the crowd into a little more open space and some faster runners. Right after the start is Cat Hill which always slows me down and I really hate, but today for some reason, I was really able to push myself through it. Mile 1: 7:32 (Mile 1 at R2D 7:53), faster than I was expecting and right on pace. I was pleased with that.
I pushed myself through the second mile up the east side of the park; flat, fast and a section to a speedy split. I wore Javier, my garmin, this race to keep myself on pace, and kept a solid 7:15-7:20 pace this mile. I was really giving this race my all and going as fast as I could. Mile 2: 7:19 (Mile 2 at R2D 7:29). This, along with mile 1, gave me 9 seconds to play with.
I knew the third mile was going to be tough. When I really push myself on this route, those west side hills in the third mile are rough, and they sure were during this race. I was seeing disappointing pace times on Javi during those uphills, but took advantage of the downhills and really went all out. I know you’re supposed to pace yourself on downhills, but this was a short race and I had crazy goals. This mile wore me out though. I was beat. Mile 3: 7:43 (Mile 3 at R2D 7:53). Yikes!
I needed to really kill myself during that final mile, which was like the second: flat and fast but with a kicker, an uphill finish. Ugh. I didn’t have a lot of fuel left in me and pushed myself as much as possible. I kept a close eye on my garmin and kept pushing as I thought I might have a chance to get that 30 minutes. And all of a sudden it was at 29:15 and I couldn’t see the finish line. I knew my goal was gone. But, I still killed myself for that final 200 meters, and finished the final mile with my gut about to explode in 7:24 (Mile 4 at R2D 7:28), final time 30:19. Nineteen seconds short. (These were my Garmin times, not the clock times. According to the Garmin, I ran .04 miles over 4 miles, which was an extra 21 seconds, which was what put me over the 30 minutes).
So, I didn’t get my goal, but I wasn’t that disappointed. True, there was a twinge of if I did this, if I did that…but I have never ever pushed myself more in a race than I did yesterday. I honestly could not have run one second faster so I really did give it my all. I’ll tell you this much, this is one race where I do NOT want to see my race pictures; my face would look like someone had been torturing me (is that what racing kind of is though?). One of my favorite parts was right after I crossed the finish, feeling like I was going to puke, a guy came up to me and thanked me and said I had paced him and helped him go a lot faster than he normally runs and how he could tell I was really giving it my all. Yay! Us runners really feed off each other. I love racing.
I’ll tell you one goal I have next race that I think I can achieve: In every single NY race since Race to Deliver, besides the 15K in Van Cortlandt, about three quarters of the way through a guy who I see frequently at my gym passes me. This is the fourth races this has happened at and I’m sick of it. And I’m normally dead by then so he zips on past. I’m putting him on my hit list; next race, he will not be beating me.
I finished my a crazy busy day with brunch with the Whippets (lots of PRs!), City Bakery and running talk with Meghann, and the Superbowl uptown to watch lots of ads with men in their underwear. And I’ll tell you something: I was exhausted all day. Pushing myself that hard in the race really wore me out and I loved that feeling.
Up next: Race for Haiti 4 Miler on 2/20 and probably the Prospect Park Cherry Tree 10 Mile Relay on 2/21 (I’m doing the relay, so 3 1/3 miles).